It’s not a typical pet diet query, ‘can dogs eat lemon or limes?’, but we know that they’re good for us, so let’s look into their nutritional profiles and whether they’re suitable for our four-legged friends.
Lemon and lime are citric fruits that have very similar nutritional profiles. They’re extremely rich in vitamin C and contain other flavonoids and antioxidants that are known to be highly beneficial to human health. But is it the same for dogs?
Not all human foods are safe for dogs to eat. Some can cause stomach upsets and nausea or even be fatal. Many foods are good for both humans and dogs to share, and some of these could come as a great surprise – for example, you can snuggle up at night to watch a movie and share popcorn with your dog safely!
There are many ways to keep your dog healthy and happy without having to share your dinner with them, but the food is certainly a great motivator for a lot of dogs. Finding a treat or food they like can make training a lot easier and help to cement the bonding process between dog and owner.
Today, the experts at Canine Weekly will explore whether a dog can eat lemon or lime, what the health benefits could be, and what alternatives there are for you to consider instead.
Can Dogs Eat Lemon or Lime – Let’s Find Out!
A dog, especially a young or inquisitive one, will eat plenty of things he shouldn’t, and the majority of the time, this won’t cause great concern. Dogs can easily pass the items they shouldn’t have consumed with little-to-no long-lasting effects.
When it comes to lemons, dogs can eat a tiny portion of lemon flesh quite safely, although their system couldn’t tolerate it in large quantities. Lemons can cause some digestive problems in dogs, and really there aren’t any good reasons for a dog to eat a lemon.
Other citrus fruits should also be avoided, and these include limes. Limes are very similar to lemons and are high in citric acid. Your dog may lick a lime or even try to eat it, but it wouldn’t benefit his health and could, in fact, cause sickness and diarrhea.
What Would Happen if I Fed Lemons or Limes to my Dog?
Foods that are rotten or poisonous have a bitter taste to a dog, and so they’ve evolved to learn to avoid these tastes as a survival mechanism. To a dog, a bitter taste is a negative taste and not a good experience for them.
Like lemon and lime, Citrus fruits contain a chemical compound and essential oils that are toxic to dogs. At best, you’ll get a “funny” video for your social media, and your dog will suffer moderate sickness for this; at worst, the consumption of lemon and lime will be fatal to your dog.
Can Dogs Drink Lemon Juice or Lemonade?
In short, no. There is no benefit to your dog for drinking lemon juice or lemonade. The juice from a lemon is just as acidic as a lemon but with added sugars. Your dog needs neither of these in his system.
Can You Add Lime Juice to a Dog’s Food?
Again, no. Lime and lime juice have no nutritional benefit for a dog and could make them extremely sick or even be toxic. It is best to avoid citrus fruits and juices altogether.
How Can a Dog Get the Vitamins From Citrus Fruit, Without Eating Citrus Fruit?
Citrus fruits contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper, magnesium, calcium, potassium, fiber, carbohydrate, and various phytochemicals. These are great for both man and dog. However, the negatives in citrus fruits outweigh the positives for dogs. To get the same or similar nutritional components for your dog you could consider the following:
Dog vitamin supplements – If your dog is eating complete, balanced dog food, there isn’t a need for additional supplements, but here are some that can help with certain things:
- Vitamins for skin and coat
- Chews for dental care
- Chewables for healthy bones
- Drops for joint pain
- Chew bars for added fiber
- Daily multivitamins
A nutritionally balanced complete food is the best diet for your dog. You could look into organic dog food if you’re concerned about added ingredients or raw Vs kibble to get onboard with the new and increasingly popular raw diet and learn its benefits.
What Are The Alternatives to Lemon and Lime?
Dogs can eat plenty of fruits safely, such as watermelon, nutritional and hydrating for a dog. There are several other fruits that dogs can eat, including; apples, oranges, berries, and bananas. Let’s explore some fruity alternatives and their benefits for your dog, focusing primarily on the citrus and exotic:
Oranges and Tangerines
Rich in vitamin C, oranges, and tangerines are a natural detox as they can help to flush toxins from the body. Boost your pups skin and coat condition by peeling an orange or tangerine and offering its sweet, juicy goodness. Its citric acid and natural sugars are not harmful to the majority of dogs.
Most dogs will enjoy the sweet taste of a ripe orange. Although they don’t need to have vitamin C supplements, new sources of it, i.e., consuming an orange or tangerine, can have a beneficial effect on a dog’s immune system. Ensure that the fruit is peeled first, as a hound will struggle to digest the peel, and it could cause intestinal blockage.
Because they have a large proportion of natural sugars, oranges and tangerines should be considered an occasional delicacy rather than an everyday treat. A whole small orange or tangerine for a larger breed or 1-2 slices for a smaller dog will give a boost of vitamins and fiber without any of the nasties produced by lemons and limes.
If your dog has diabetes, you should avoid feeding oranges and tangerines.
Kiwi fruit is safe for dogs. It contains healthy doses of potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C, as well as great antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids. These components can strengthen the immune system and help cell rejuvenation.
Even picky eaters could be tempted with this juicy snack and it can contribute towards a healthier digestive system, circulation, and healthy skin.
Pineapples are a great source of zinc, folate, and vitamins that are good for dogs’ immune systems and digestion. They also contain bromelain, a natural enzyme that helps break down meat and make it more digestible. Pineapples are great for dogs with weaker digestive systems.
Pineapples are so sweet because they’re also sugary so they should be fed in moderation and not to diabetic dogs. Ensure that you peel and dice the pineapple into bitesize pieces to prevent choking.
Mangos are a nutritious, tasty, and safe fruit for dogs. They are rich in vitamins, potassium, carotenoids, and trace minerals, making them an excellent treat for puppies and dogs.
Mangos have a hard pit that must be removed, as these can be toxic for a dog.
Coconut can be a natural anti-inflammatory, making it great for dogs who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, or skin allergies. However, it isn’t suitable for all dogs due to it containing a form of fat called medium-chain triglycerides. This can upset dogs prone to delicate stomachs.
The meat from coconut is also high calorie so should be an occasional treat for most dogs and an avoided one for overweight hounds.
To Conclude, Can Dogs Eat Lemon or Lime?
Lemon and lime can be toxic food for dogs and should be avoided. Neither fruit offers anything nutritionally beneficial to a dog and there are much healthier alternatives out there. Dogs can eat a number of citrus and/or exotic fruits safely and reap the nutritional qualities of them.
If a dog is being fed complete, well-balanced dog food there isn’t the need for additional human foods to be given. If you do wish to add human food to your dog’s meal then ensure it is safe to do so.
You can cook human food for dogs safely if you want to avoid manufactured dog foods altogether. Or opt for a limited ingredient food that’s free from any unhealthy preservatives or additives that could, over time, reduce the overall health of your dog.
A dog’s nutritional needs will change over time and what is a great puppy food will not be the most suitable for your senior dog. In addition to age, there are other factors to consider when choosing food and treats such as the size, breed and fitness, and agility of the dog.
Working dogs require high protein food and smaller dogs need smaller kibble, for example. There isn’t one great food out there that’ll bring out the best in every day.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.